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Language Registers

What is a register?
• the level of formality with which one speaks
• There are five language registers or styles. Each
level has an appropriate use that is determined
by differing situations.
• Register is determined based on: who is in the
audience, what the topic is, and the purpose of
• It is important to use the appropriate language
register so we do not offend others.
Frozen or Static Register
• This style of communications RARELY or NEVER changes. It is “frozen”
in time and content.
• This type of language is learned and repeated by rote.
the Preamble
Biblical verses
Words to a song
Formal Register
• This language is used in formal settings and is one-way in nature.
• This use of language usually follows a commonly accepted format.
• It is usually impersonal and formal.
• The speaker uses complete sentences, avoids slang and may use
technical or academic vocabulary. It is likely that the speaker will use
fewer contractions, but opt instead for complete words.
Academic and scientific publishing
Consultative Register
• This is a standard form of communications.
• Users engage in a mutually accepted structure of
• It is formal and societal expectations accompany the users of
this speech.
• It is professional discourse.
• This is the register used when consulting an expert such as a
doctor. The language used is more precise. The speaker is
likely to address the expert by a title such as “Doctor”, “Mr.”
or “Mrs.”.
Casual Register
•This is informal language used by peers and
•Slang, vulgarities and colloquialisms are
•This is “group” language. One must be
member to engage in this register.
•This register is conversational in tone.
Intimate Register
•This communications is private.
•It is reserved for close family members
or intimate people.
• It is best avoided in public and
professional situations.
Rules on Language Use
• One can usually transition from one language register
to an adjacent one without encountering
• However, skipping one or more levels is usually
considered inappropriate and even offensive.
Individual Activity (Reporting)

Each student must choose a country (no

two students should have the same
countries) and research on their chosen
country’s culturally appropriate terms,
expressions and images. Reporting will be
done next meeting.